The E is the emotion I’m talking about, not some…um…other E. Ahem, moving right along, MH is a very sexy line. Lots of opportunities for action. And personally I really like writing a good love scene. I tend to put a lot of sensuality in mine to really build it up. I’ve been told by the ed I write a good one too (blows own trumpet here ’cause someone’s got to!) which is pleasing.
So when I was told the emphasis was too heavy on the sex in the last reject, I was puzzled.
Hey, I thought. Whaddya expect? It was a once night stand, ergo, sex. Anyway, you liked the writing, so what was wrong with it? Too much heat? Or didn’t the one nighter work out? Did they get together too quickly? What? What exactly did you mean by ‘too much emphasis on sex’??
The problem, gentle reader, has only now sunk in. Having borrowed Maisey’s editor decoder ring, I went back over the rejection letter and there it was in black and white – there was no emotion in the scene. What? No emotion? There was plenty! They enjoyed themselves didn’t they? Oh sure, but we’re not just talking pleasure here, we’re talking emotion that is related to the conflict. As Michelle S told me, every scene has to forward the conflict on some level, and that includes the love scenes. So I quickly looked at the rough draft of my Cat/Sean ms to see what I’d done with the love scene. I’d really gone to town with it and it was pretty sexy but sure enough, I’d made the same mistake. No conflict!
Glad I picked that one up huh? So how to put conflict in a love scene? Pretty much the same as you do with every scene. What’s their conflict? How does that come out during love making? What kind of action would the conflict impel them to take and what would the response be and why? So I’ve got a guy who likes control with a woman who threatens it. And a spontaneous, impulsive woman who wants an emotional connection with a guy who is trying to deny it. Don’t know about you, but I can see all sorts of possibilities there… 🙂
Anyway, I think the real reason this has taken a while to sink in for me is that as a writer I am the queen of understatement. I don’t like writing OTT emotional reactions, especially during love scenes. Which is why I didn’t put them in. But, as one of Trish Wylie’s lessons pointed out, you can never be too obvious. So I’m going to have to give up my love of the understated look or the many layered piece of dialoge and just be straight up. And boy are those two going to have emotional stuff going on in their scene – I’m going to wring that baby dry.
But if the ed wants to read it, she’ll have to ask for the full. 😉
BTW guys, the old sex without emotion thing was one of the problems the eds mentioned with many of the entries from the last competition. So the lesson is, yes, you can have the sex, but make sure that conflict is front and centre in the scene.